|Date of diagnosis:|
January 19, 2017
|Age at time of diagnosis: |
Stage of diagnosis:
| Stage 2 |
|Last 'NORMAL' Mammogram: |
Within the Year
How was cancer diagnosed?
| by Physician/confirmed by Ultrasound & MRI |
I was told several years ago that I have dense tissue with a lot of cysts, which is why I was told to start getting mammograms around age 37. No one ever mentioned to me what having dense breasts meant. They just always did a mammogram and said it was normal.
My friend was diagnosed in November and I decided I needed to start doing my self exams. However, since I have so many cysts, all my breasts feel lumpy. I was due for my annual mammo, so I asked my doctor to just feel my breasts and tell me what's normal so I could have a baseline for self exams. She felt something and sent me to a breast care specialists place (different from where I was getting my annual mammo).
The breast care specialists did a mammogram and didn't see anything - it was NORMAL. Then they did an ultrasound and saw something on the left breast. A biopsy confirmed invasive cancer (yet still invisible on mammo). I also had an MRI, which revealed two small spots on the right which were positive for cancer including lymph node metastasis.
I had a double mastectomy - the pathology report concluded bilateral invasive cancer - 5CM and 2CM and Both INVISIBLE BY MAMMOGRAM. Doctors say both cancers were there for several years which went undetected by several normal mammograms. If I had been getting ultrasounds it would have been discovered at an earlier stage. So all this time I had a tumor growing that couldn't be seen on the mammo, only on the ultrasound on the left and a 5 cm tumor on the right by MRI. How is that possible?
I will be meeting with my oncologist soon for my treatment plan. My breast care doctor said I would need chemo and radiation given the size of the tumor and the fact that it was in a lymph node on the right.
I'm really nervous about the next steps and the unknown. I'm also nervous about it spreading to other parts of the body. I have no history of breast cancer, I eat healthy and work out 5x a week. My health care providers should have told me years ago that I needed another detection method other than just the mammogram. Had I known what dense tissue meant, I would have pushed for more testing.
I'm so glad I found your website because it gives me hope that I can beat this. It made me feel better to know that others have stories similar to mine.
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Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer.
Two-thirds of pre-menopausal women and 1/4 of post menopausal women have dense breast tissue.
Adding more sensitive tests to mammography significantly increase detection of invasive cancers that are small and node negative.
Cancer turns up five times more often in women with extremely dense breasts than those with the most fatty tissue.
While a mammogram detects 98% of cancers in women with fatty breasts, it finds only 48% in women with the densest breasts.
A woman at average risk and a woman at high risk have an EQUAL chance of having their cancer masked by mammogram.
Women with dense breasts who had breast cancer have a four times higher risk of recurrence than women with less-dense breasts.
A substantial proportion of Breast Cancer can be attributed to high breast density alone.
There are too many women who are unaware of their breast density, believe their “Happy Gram” when it reports no significant findings and are at risk of receiving a later stage cancer diagnosis.